Sun. Jul 14th, 2024
alert-–-radio-2-fans-vow-to-stop-listening-as-paddy-mcguinness-is-given-plum-sunday-show-–-after-string-of-major-shake-ups-at-the-bbc-station-sparked-mass-exodus-of-listenersAlert – Radio 2 fans vow to stop listening as Paddy McGuinness is given plum Sunday show – after string of major shake-ups at the BBC station sparked mass exodus of listeners

BBC Radio 2 listeners have vowed to stop listening to the station after Paddy McGuinness was announced as the host of a new prime Sunday morning show – amid concerns that he is a ‘kiss of death’ for programmes on TV and radio.

The Top Gear and Question of Sport host, 50, will take over Michael Ball’s plush 11am slot on Sundays from June with a new show with an as-yet-unspecified format – prompting an outcry from veteran Radio 2 listeners who find him off-putting.  

Radio 2 bosses say McGuinness made a ‘huge impression’ with listeners sitting in for Rylan Clark on his Saturday show in recent weeks – but listeners to Britain’s most popular radio station fear his presence will further ‘decimate’ its audience.

Recent presenter shake-ups and fall-outs have seen Radio 2 drop almost a million listeners in the last year – most notably the departure of Ken Bruce, and the replacement of Steve Wright with Radio 1’s Scott Mills in the weekday afternoon slot.

In addition, a number of shows McGuinness has presented have been canned or put in hold including the most recent reboots of Top Gear and A Question of Sport and music challenge I Can See Your Voice.

Paddy McGuinness has been announced as a new permanent host on BBC Radio 2, taking on the 11am Sunday slot - but not everyone is happy with the news

Paddy McGuinness has been announced as a new permanent host on BBC Radio 2, taking on the 11am Sunday slot – but not everyone is happy with the news

Social media has been awash with tweets from Radio 2 listeners who feel McGuinness is a poor addition to the station's line-up

Social media has been awash with tweets from Radio 2 listeners who feel McGuinness is a poor addition to the station’s line-up

Paddy McGuinness fronting the reboot of Question of Sport (which dropped the 'A' from the title) in 2021 - it was canned in 2023 after millions switched off

Paddy McGuinness fronting the reboot of Question of Sport (which dropped the ‘A’ from the title) in 2021 – it was canned in 2023 after millions switched off

McGuinness alongside motoring journalist Chris Harris and ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff on Top Gear. The format has been suspended after Flintoff's accident at the end of 2022

McGuinness alongside motoring journalist Chris Harris and ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff on Top Gear. The format has been suspended after Flintoff’s accident at the end of 2022

I Can See Your Voice, which Paddy McGuinness hosted on the BBC alongside Jimmy Carr, Alison Hammond and Amanda Holden, was also axed

I Can See Your Voice, which Paddy McGuinness hosted on the BBC alongside Jimmy Carr, Alison Hammond and Amanda Holden, was also axed

Quiz show Catchpoint, which saw McGuinness testing contestants on their general knowledge by catching inflatable balls, was canned

Quiz show Catchpoint, which saw McGuinness testing contestants on their general knowledge by catching inflatable balls, was canned

Paddy and Christine McGuinness (pictured) announced they had split up in July 2022 after 11 years of marriage

Paddy and Christine McGuinness (pictured) announced they had split up in July 2022 after 11 years of marriage

Paddy and Christine McGuinness (pictured) announced they had split up in July 2022 after 11 years of marriage

Some fear his new radio slot could meet the same fate, taking to social media to share their concerns about McGuinness’ appointment.

One listener said on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Paddy McGuinness… seriously?? That’s another radio 2 programme I’ll be switching off.’

Another added: ‘Paddy McGuinness was so bad covering for Sara Cox that I turned the radio off. Absolutely mad to give him his own show.’

READ MORE: Fury as Paddy ‘kiss of death’ McGuinness is given plum Radio 2 slot amid major shake up at station – as listeners ask ‘what HAS he got over on BBC bosses?’ 

‘Paddy McGuinness will now decimate Radio 2,’ a third fan warned. ‘Sunday was the only day I have continued to listen to it.’

While a fourth listener, claiming they found McGuinness’ voice ‘self-gratifying’, told the BBC via X: ‘I can think of no reason to listen to Radio 2 anymore. I’m sick of paying for your “younger listeners” obsession.’

The BBC was contacted for comment. 

McGuinness himself said of the news: ‘I’ve loved keeping Rylan’s seat warm on Saturday afternoons and returning to the airwaves over Easter. To be given my very own regular show on the legendary Radio 2 is a dream come true.’

He also shared the news on Instagram. However, comments on the post – which are largely positive – have been restricted.

It is not his first stint in radio: as well as sitting in for other permanent BBC presenters on holiday, he presented a Saturday morning show on Bauer network radio stations across the north of England from 2014 until 2017.

McGuinness’ permanent appointment to a Radio 2 slot comes as part of a wider station shake-up of programming following the untimely death of Steve Wright in February. His cause of death has not been disclosed.

As part of the shake-up, Michael Ball is moving to the legendary 9am Sunday Love Songs show that had been piloted by Wright for almost 30 years until his death.

Ball said he was ‘beyond excited and more than a little nervous’ to continue Wright’s legacy with the heartwarming show, which features listeners’ weekly dedications and classic love songs. Nicki Chapman has been filling in since Wright’s death.

Radio 2 boss Helen Thomas said of the new appointments: ‘I’m looking forward to Michael’s new earlier show, where he’ll entertain his ‘lovelies’ as he’s always done, and Paddy made a huge impression on our listeners when he sat in for Rylan as well as with his Easter specials.’

Other changes include comedian Romesh Ranganathan launching a new show later this month to run on Saturdays from 10am until 1pm.

McGuinness announced the news on his Instagram (above). Comments have been restricted on the post

McGuinness announced the news on his Instagram (above). Comments have been restricted on the post

Michael Ball (pictured) will present a new Sunday Love Songs show on Radio 2, following the death of Steve Wright earlier this year

Michael Ball (pictured) will present a new Sunday Love Songs show on Radio 2, following the death of Steve Wright earlier this year

Social media users reacted angrily to the news that McGuinness had been given a plum Radio 2 slot

Social media users reacted angrily to the news that McGuinness had been given a plum Radio 2 slot

Radio 2 fans have previously accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Paul O'Grady, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo, replaced by ex-Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, RuPaul's Michelle Visage, Rylan and DJ Spoony

Radio 2 fans have previously accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Paul O’Grady, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo, replaced by ex-Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, RuPaul’s Michelle Visage, Rylan and DJ Spoony

Greatest Hits Radio, which also counts ex-Radio 2 veteran Simon Mayo as a presenter, has seen growth of 76.9 per cent year on year, the biggest across all stations

Greatest Hits Radio, which also counts ex-Radio 2 veteran Simon Mayo as a presenter, has seen growth of 76.9 per cent year on year, the biggest across all stations

Ken Bruce admitted feeling like he had been 'taken for granted' when he left his long-running Radio 2 show last year

Ken Bruce admitted feeling like he had been ‘taken for granted’ when he left his long-running Radio 2 show earlier this year

Reaction to the new line-up has been mixed – but could spell trouble for the BBC after some of its other recent Radio 2 appointments led to a significant drop in listeners, some of whom have switched to commercial rivals. 

In recent years, veteran presenters such as the late Paul O’Grady, Wright, Simon Mayo and Vanessa Feltz stepped back or were replaced at the station with younger talent such as Rylan Clark, Vernon Kay, comic Rob Beckett and Radio 1’s Scott Mills.

Among the most high-profile departures was Ken Bruce, who said he wanted to ‘try something else’. But after revealing he would be moving to commercial rival Greatest Hits Radio, his exit from the BBC was expedited.

READ MORE: Ken Bruce blasts BBC over ‘lack of support’ following shock exit as he claims the broadcaster ‘didn’t even mention’ his show 

And since moving to GHR – taking the Popmaster quiz format with him – his listener numbers have grown. Meanwhile Radio 2 has lost almost a million fans following the departure or downgrading of its biggest stars.

But some of Radio 2’s stable have insisted that the station’s demise is being greatly exaggerated.

Cox said last year: ‘[In radio] people move on and get replaced. When change happens, it feels really big in the moment and within days, you’re like, “It’s fine. It’s still Radio 2”.’

The BBC’s content boss, Charlotte Moore, has denied claims the station is deliberately forcing out older talent in order to woo younger listeners – instead insisting the station is trying to move with the times.

She told the Broadcasting Press Guild last year: ‘I think it’s natural evolution. It’s natural evolution of the station and of the BBC.

‘I don’t think we are chasing young. We are absolutely trying to make sure it doesn’t get older and older and older and older, and I think that’s for the whole of the BBC, of course, otherwise we just won’t exist, will we?’

But there are concerns that Paddy McGuinness’ attachment to programmes is jinxing their prospects – despite the fanfare that surrounded his move to the BBC in 2018 after years of fronting ITV dating show Take Me Out.

A number of formats fronted by the star – who made his name alongside Peter Kay in Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere – have been consigned to the bin, including Catchpoint and I Can See Your Voice.

A 2021 reboot of A Question of Sport – which saw McGuinness taking on the unenviable task of replacing Sue Barker – was also binned after viewing figures fell from a peak of four million to 800,000.

And the refreshed Top Gear, featuring the comedian alongside motoring journalist Chris Harris and ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff, is on indefinite hiatus after Flintoff’s horrific car accident in a roofless sports car at the end of 2022.

Flintoff is continuing to recover from the accident, which involved a Morgan Three-Wheeler car – but will return to the BBC with a new series of his documentary Field of Dreams after its first run aired to rapturous reviews in 2022.

One social media user said of McGuinness’ run of bad luck at the BBC: ‘Paddy McGuinness is the kiss of death to any programme. I’m trying to imagine him sitting in the same likability zone as Steve Wright and I just can’t.’

Another added: ‘Why oh why Paddy McGuinness, that’s another turnoff. All shows he’s in are cancelled.’

Paddy McGuinness made his name as a TV presenter on ITV dating show Take Me Out before picking up BBC work in 2018

Paddy McGuinness made his name as a TV presenter on ITV dating show Take Me Out before picking up BBC work in 2018

Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris in an episode of Top Gear prior to the show's indefinite shelving

Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris in an episode of Top Gear prior to the show’s indefinite shelving

Freddie Flintoff pictured in September last year - nearly a year on from an accident in a roofless sports car that saw the show put on indefinite hiatus

Freddie Flintoff pictured in September last year – nearly a year on from an accident in a roofless sports car that saw the show put on indefinite hiatus

BBC bosses do not seem concerned about McGuinness' apparent effect on programmes - lining him up to replace Gregg Wallace (above) on Inside the Factory

BBC bosses do not seem concerned about McGuinness’ apparent effect on programmes – lining him up to replace Gregg Wallace (above) on Inside the Factory

McGuinness is also resuming stand-up after a years-long hiatus - admitting that he needs new work amid the shelving of Top Gear and other cancellations

McGuinness is also resuming stand-up after a years-long hiatus – admitting that he needs new work amid the shelving of Top Gear and other cancellations

McGuinness also made an appearance on Question Time in February, with some accusing the BBC of ‘dumbing down’ the topical programme.

However, he is far from the first celebrity guest to appear on the show, with disgraced comic Russell Brand, Love Island star Amy Hart and Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel.

And McGuinness himself said that, as a man from a working class community in Bolton, Lancashire, the opportunity to appear on the show was one he couldn’t pass up.

He told Good Morning Britain in February: ‘Being working class people look at you as the place you are from, as you still speak like them – if I hadn’t have done it then you’re not getting people’s voice across.’

BBC bosses do not seem to be troubled by the failures of programmes to which the presenter has been linked, however: he is lined up to replace Gregg Wallace on documentary series Inside the Factory. 

McGuinness has plans to return to touring a stand-up show after several years off of the circuit because the ‘money has run out’. He also split from his wife Christine in July 2022 after 11 years of marriage.

He told This Morning in December: ‘Erm, well the money’s run out now so it took about eight years to spend it all and I’m like, “I’ve got to build it back up”.

‘So weirdly, writing a tour does take a lot of your time. When we had the break from Top Gear, I’d been planning it for a long time, I went, “There’s a window there”.’ 

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